Maranoa Regional Council. Photo: Lachlan Berlin
Maranoa Regional Council. Photo: Lachlan Berlin

‘NEGATIVELY TARGETED’: Deputy Mayor hits back at critics

Maranoa deputy mayor Geoff McMullen has slammed what he claims to be hypocrisy of comments made in the community by council's critics.

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The response from Cr McMullen comes after an outcry on social media about the proceeding of the last Maranoa Regional Council meeting in Injune on February 10 where mayor Tyson Golder moved a motion to nominate councillors McMullen and Julie Guthrie to represent the organisation at southwest focus groups.

A tense conversation between the divided councillors opened up at the February 10 meeting, with councillors Joh Hancock, Cameron O'Neil and Wendy Taylor questioning why the opportunity to represent the council had not been put out to all councillors.

It's not the first time the three councillors - who are often in the minority vote - have brought up claims of lack of consultation and due dillegence.

Councillor McMullen said in a letter to this masthead, "it is with interest I read some of the people's comments referring to the Wester Star article regarding the endorsement of myself, after the ordinary meeting on February 10 as the council representative for the South West Resource Recovery Group and councillor Julie Guthrie, the council representative for the Western Queensland Dogwatch Committee," he said.

Quoting comments on Facebook, councillor McMullen shared "it was said - all councillors should be a part of the process, and two - it's not a democracy if all councillors aren't given the chance to put their names forward or to discuss who is the best candidate to sit on these boards. This is dictatorship."

He noted, "nobody took the time to comment on social media about the appointment of Cr Joh Hancock on the Bigger Big Rig Interpreative Design Development - Project working group" at the meeting on October 28 last year".

"This resolution … moved by Cr O'Neil seconded by Cr Taylor … endorsed Cr Hancock as councillor representative and chair of that working group … in the resolution was not on the agenda, this was added, all above board, on the run without any consultation," Cr McMullen noted.

"I haven't heard anyone who voted for or against this motion complaining about the result, no complaints in any newspaper articles or on any social media outlets," Cr McMullen questioned.

"It appears that only a selected few of elected members are being negatively targeted."

It was the February 10 meeting when several councillors questioned mayor Tyson Golder as to why there had been no consultation with other councillors who may have been interested in the representative positions.

Mayor Golder said no other councillors were consulted about the positions because a decision had to be made quickly.

 

The meeting Geoff McMullen is referring to:

In the October 28 meeting last year that Cr McMullen refers to, when councillors debated who would represent council at the Bigger Big Rig Interpreative Design Development - Project Working Group, Cr Cameron O'Neil made a statement during his motion as to why he put Cr Hancock's name forward, saying due her to previous role as Local Development Officer that she would be the best person for the job.

The Project Working Group would work with council's Project Management Team and have representatives from various organisations and businesses like oil and gas, tourism, environmental, Indigenous, Industry and council.

Councillor O'Neil put Cr Hancock's name forward and said, "in terms of additional point 5, in recommending councillor Hancock as chair, I having had the privilege of being here before as a councillor have seen Cr Hancock's work as a local development officer in her community and can tell there's no greater champion of tourism coming out of Surat when Cr Hancock was fulfilling her role as local development officer".

"She would be a welcomed addition to this working group, and I can't think of a better person to represent our council in this chamber …"

The mayor voted against the motion, and in relation to having Cr Hancock represent the organisation, Cr Golder said it should be the deputy director who volunteered for the position, if council did not wish to elect someone.

"Nothing against councillor Hancock but I do believe it could be handled at office level," Cr Golder said.

In support of the mayor, Cr Guthrie said it shouldn't state the individual's name rather just have 'council representative'.

During the October 28 meeting, CEO Julie Reitano said it would be too disjointed of council to change the representative every meeting.

The motion was voted in favour by councillors John Birkett, Hancock, McMullen, O'Neil and Taylor.

Councillors Mark Edwards, George Ladbrook, Golder and Guthrie voted against the motion.

You can view the meeting from October 28, 2020 HERE:

 

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